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COVID 2.0: Ordeal of the bereaved


Dimapur, April 30: “I don’t have any grudges against the hospital or those who are working there. I know they tried their best with what they had. But I pray that it won’t happen to anyone again,” said the 29-year-old man who had lost his mother to COVID-19 on April 28, at District Hospital Dimapur (DDH).

She was in her 50s and had a history of diabetes and hypertension. The family had been ensuring frequent treatment and visits to a private hospital in Dimapur.
“That day also, we (the family members) took her to the (private) hospital for a routine check-up. She really liked the doctor who was treating her. Said he was a nice person,” the son told Nagaland Page on Friday.
“These days they have to test every patient for COVID-19, so my mother was also tested. And they said she was positive, after which they referred her to Civil (District) Hospital,” he shared.
She was kept at the Hospital’s COVID ward. “And just 48 hours later, she died. She struggled a lot,” said the son.
According to him, there were only 2 Hospital staff members to look after the COVID patients. “For 24 hours, my mother was kept alone. Even to answer the call of nature, there was no one to help her. She relieved herself in the bed,” he said.
The son felt that the hospital staff could be kinder “and more serious” towards the patients, adding that they were initially rude. At the very least, he said, they should help the patients.
“Before she died, we had to transfer her from the COVID ward to the COVID Intensive Care Unit (ICU), which was quite a distance away. So we placed her on a stretcher but midway it broke. I had no option but to carry her to the ICU, only then a nurse saw it and fetched a wheelchair for my mother,” he shared.
The mother would succumb to the virus inside the COVID ICU. “I know the exact time she passed away. It was 2.07 p.m.,” he said.
The stab of grief felt by the family would only sharpen more when they could not take her body back for burial. “It was a long process. No Objection Certificate from the Gaonburra or the Chairman is needed. Either that or you inform the DTF (District Task Force). They will dispose the body,” he said.
Uncertainty at how the locality or the ward/colony leaders would react forced the family to let the DTF dispose the mother’s mortal remains. “I was there. But none of my other family members could attend it,” he shared.
The son, the eldest child, had arrived from Delhi on that very morning, April 28. He underwent an RT-PCR test at the airport before heading to the hospital.
“Now it doesn’t matter whether I test positive or negative. Because I was there at the hospital with my mother, I have to undergo testing again,” he said, adding that all the family members are undergoing home isolation now.
According to the Medical Superintendent of DDH, Dr. Kuveduyi Theyo, the hospital has “sufficient doctors and staff” to look after the patients.
“But we cannot put all of them in one facility only. Currently, the hospital has 100 beds. Earlier, it was 150 beds but after one of the blocks was demolished, we have only 100 beds now. And till August last year, all the 100 beds were dedicated to COVID patients. But in September, we divided into 50 for COVID patients and 50 for non-COVID patients,” he said.

Currently, out of the 50 beds for COVID, 6 are for ICU, 9 for High Dependency Unit (HDU), 33 for COVID Ward, and the remaining for COVID operation theatre, the doctor informed. “We are managing with that,” he said.
When informed of the issues raised by family members of COVID victims, the doctor said, “We are also trying our best. You have to understand that.”
(Page News Service)